About Me

Welcome to Everything and Nothing from Essex. My name is Deanna.

There's really nothing terribly interesting about me other than the fact that I like to write about the ordinary days in a grace-filled, often humorous way that makes them seem anything but ordinary as I look back on the string of days behind me.

But that might have something to do with the passel of children I'm raising.

I blog about parenting (often special needs parenting), faith, and everything and nothing in-between.

This blog started as a way to sort through not only becoming a first time mom at 25, but becoming a first time mom to a baby with Down syndrome. (spoiler alert: I am no longer 25...well, except when I'm "rounding down" from somewhere in the early 30s-cough-)

I'm a music teacher, and sometimes I pretend to be a writer  (see: My Book tab). Sometimes I lazily let the words fall where they want to just for the sake of recording the experience.

I struggle between raising my Special Needs Mom flag high and contentedly living the life of just a super normal (slightly boring) mom.

Half the time I am convinced I am completely screwing my kids up. The other half I contentedly rest on who they were meant to be in spite of my mistakes as a mom.

I prefer to laugh rather than cry.

And I drink way too much coffee.

You can read the beginning of our Down syndrome story in the ebook Dreams Change. It's not a polished gem. It's real. It's honest. You know, all the not-so-pretty stuff that is sometimes just as important as the gleaming finished product. If you're going through a new Down syndrome diagnosis, it just might help you to know that you're not alone.

Thanks for stopping in to EANFE!

Oh yes, and please leave me comments. I heart comments. There's nothing worse than talking to a room full of people with deadpan expressions and absolutley no response. It makes me feel like I'm teaching public high school once again.


  1. Deanna,
    I enjoyed reading your blog. I also have a 2 year old and a 5 year old so I don't have much time read or write. I was just wondering...I was teacher for 12 years, and I had student named Deanna Sanford in 3rd Grade in Wisconsin, would you happen to be her? Probably not, but I thought I would ask. Susan (Miss Keefer)

  2. You are adorable! As are your 2 precious Babies! I found you through your letter to the parents who sued their doctor. WOW! You speak the truth.
    Thanks! Jo

  3. So glad I found your blog! Thanks for enriching my life.

  4. Reading your blog was very heart warming and inspiring! I am an amateur writer myself and have been writing short stories for years now. Some of these include stories about my three, special needs brothers, who are adopted from different countries. The world may see a mistake, but all I see is tremendous blessing! :) Your little girl is adorable and her smile is priceless.I also volunteer for the Special Needs group of a Sunday School class at my church and I love it. Thank you for sharing your heart and how God has let you see things from His perspective! :)

  5. Just started reading your blog and I really appreciate it! Our baby third baby is three months and happens to have DS.


    This may be a silly question but my two older daughters got their ears pierced at 6 months. I was told to wait until then because their ears will be at a better size for piercing. I noticed Addison's ears are pierced. At what age did you have them pierced? I noticed my little one is growing much slower so I want to be patient and do them at the right time.

  6. What does the "from Essex" mean? I LOVE your spirit and your strength. Addison will have a wonderful and HAPPY life thanks to you guys. ~ Sharon in San Antonio, TX

  7. Wow. What a wonderful blog - thank you for sharing with the world, and what a beautiful family. Very sweet and heart warming indeed. I searched for your blog after reading it won the "Best Special Needs Blog" in the March 2012 Parents' mag. Very inspiring. The world needs more positive thinkers like you.

  8. Deanna, so glad you have chosen to share your experiences within your blog. Loved your blog and enjoyed your book. I wanted to tell you an important principle that someone told me years ago during a difficult time in my life: "God doesn't give us more than we can handle." Clearly, God knew that you would be perfect for Addison and no doubt Addison is perfect for you!" God bless you in your continued efforts.

  9. Deanna, I found you through Kelly's Korner and always love finding new blogs. :) Since I found it I can't stop reading. You have a wonderful way of expressing yourself. Pictures of those precious babies help keep me coming back too! I have an 11 month onld myself and am located in Southern VT. I look forward to following you and your family on your journey!

  10. I have loved reading your blog! I started reading several months ago, way before I started my job at a daycare center. I was so excited to discover that there is a little boy in my class who also has Downs Syndrome. He is so sweet, and your blog has helped me to know how best to interact with him, his parents, and the other kids in the class! Thanks for all you do!

  11. On your latest: Faith & Disability
    Those who made the judgement obviously never read Job......shame on them. Your child is a blessing from God to show His Glory. We love your blog keep up the good work.

  12. Great to poke around your blog! You can find me here, at http://starinhereye.wordpress.com/

  13. just rec'd a special gift in my day....I tripped on FB and landed on your website. Looks like we have friends in common. Anyway...wow, I'm so looking forward to the pleasure of future blogs and photos. You definitely have great writing skills. You are funny, 'real' and such a great mom! Honestly, I'm so happy God didn't answer your early pregnancy prayers....Addison so belongs with your family.

  14. Just clicked over from My Blessed Life- LOVE your blog, definitely adding this to my favorites. Your children are beautiful and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the picture to the left of your blog title- cracked me up. :<}

  15. I was just wondering if the "Essex" you speak of is in Vermont......curious because I spend one week out of every month there to be with my Dad who is in a nursing home there. Beautiful area, with absolutely beautiful people!
    I love your blog! I have a good friend who has a baby (she's 3 now!) with Down Syndrome, and she is so sweet & beautiful! Down Syndrome is DEFINITELY a blessing in disguise!!!!
    ;-) Blessings to you :-) Sue

  16. I enjoyed reading your blog.. I too am a mother of a 23 year old beautiful daughter with downs. They are truly a blessing from GOD. May your days be filled with great joy and learning for they will truly teach you more then you could imagine. And never say never they can do anything.

    God Bless

  17. I am so enjoying your book "Dreams Change" Thank you for sharing your story. Addison is surely an angel and cuter than words! Aimee in Michigan

  18. I just found your blog via the blog "Momastery" and just love it. I have two boys fifteen months apart, ages two and one. My older son was diagnosed with bilateral cataracts as an infant and now uses prosthetic contact lenses to see. He has a range of developmental delays so we attend therapy five times a week. He is non-verbal and has only mastered the sign for more so apparently he wants more of everything all the time. We don't quite know why he is so delayed so we visit lots of doctors. Your blog has been a VERY welcome bit of humor and sanity so thank you, thank you. Oh, and I have not given a birthday party for either of my children. They eat cake, lots of it, on their birthdays, and we call it a day :-) My mommy bags are full!!

  19. Hi, I'm Tracy!

    My 10-year-old son,Ty & I blog over at tysadventures.com, ok so I do most of the writing from his hilarious perspective, but whatever. You get it... and I am also a part of the T21 Writers Alliance...and I used to teach public high school...and, ok, that's enough with the and's. I can really relate to your blog, I have 3 boys, Ty is my oldest, then another 20 months younger, then another 29 months after that.

    Happy to have found your blog! Hope you pop by Ty's Adventures some time to say HI!

    ps...I just voted for your blog on Parents Mag! *fingers crossed for ya!*

  20. Happy to find your blog! I look forward to reading more. I am a single mother of two and one of my sons has mitochondrial disease. It's always nice to have a friend or find a read that you can relate to in some way. I just recently began blogging again and plan on sharing Cameroms story when I can finish the post. I had to take a break to gather myself back together.


Thanks for reading about my Everything and Nothing. I would love to hear from you!